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Pu’u Manamana Hike On Oahu, Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Sarette Stricklin



Welcome to the breathtaking Pu’u Manamana hike on Oahu, Hawaii! Located on the eastern coast of the island, Pu’u Manamana is a trail that will take you on an unforgettable adventure through lush jungles, towering cliffs, and sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. This challenging hike is not for the faint of heart, but the reward is well worth the effort.


The Pu’u Manamana hike offers a unique blend of natural beauty and adrenaline-pumping excitement. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll navigate narrow ridges, scramble over rocky terrain, and traverse steep slopes. But don’t worry, the jaw-dropping vistas and the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering this trail make it all worthwhile.


Prepare to be immersed in the tropical paradise of Oahu as you embark on this exhilarating journey. The trail weaves through dense vegetation, with vibrant flowers and ancient trees surrounding you at every turn. The air is alive with the sounds of birdsong and the gentle rustling of leaves. It’s an immersive experience that connects you with the raw beauty of nature.


Throughout the hike, you’ll encounter diverse landscapes that change dramatically as you ascend. From lush rainforests to rugged cliffs, each section offers a different perspective on the island’s natural wonders.


But it’s not just the stunning scenery that sets Pu’u Manamana apart. This hike also provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii. As you explore the trail, you’ll come across ancient Hawaiian remnants, such as rock walls and terraces, which speak to the island’s history and the ingenuity of its indigenous people.


Whether you’re a seasoned hiker looking for a new challenge or an adventurous traveler seeking an unforgettable experience, Pu’u Manamana has something to offer. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on a journey that will take you to new heights.


Trail Overview

The Pu’u Manamana trail is a thrilling and scenic hike that spans approximately 3.5 miles round trip. It offers a unique combination of challenging terrain and breathtaking views, making it a popular choice among adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.


The trail begins at the Kamehameha Heiau State Park and takes you on a winding path through dense vegetation and rocky terrain. As you ascend, you’ll encounter several steep sections where you will need to use your hands for balance and stability.


One of the standout features of the Pu’u Manamana trail is its narrow ridges. These razorback ridges offer a thrilling experience as you traverse them, with sheer drop-offs on either side. It is important to exercise caution and choose your steps carefully to ensure your safety. The reward for braving these exhilarating sections is unparalleled views of the surrounding coastline and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.


As you make your way along the trail, you’ll also come across a variety of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for native Hawaiian plants, such as ‘ohi’a lehua, hala trees, and ferns. Bird watchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot native species, including ‘apapane, ‘io (Hawaiian hawk), and ‘elepaio.


The Pu’u Manamana trail is considered to be moderately difficult to strenuous, requiring a moderate level of physical fitness and agility. Hikers should be prepared for steep climbs, scrambling over rocks, and sections of exposed ridges. It is recommended to have prior hiking experience and to be comfortable with heights.


The estimated time to complete the hike is around 4 to 6 hours, depending on your pace and the weather conditions. It is advisable to start the hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and to allow ample time to complete the trail before sunset.


Before embarking on the Pu’u Manamana hike, it is essential to check the weather forecast and trail conditions. Heavy rain can make the trail slippery, and strong winds can make the exposed sections more challenging. Plan accordingly and be prepared to alter your plans if necessary for safety reasons.


Overall, the Pu’u Manamana trail offers a thrilling and rewarding experience for hikers who are up for the challenge. With its breathtaking views, unique terrain, and connection to Hawaiian culture, this hike is a must-try for those seeking an unforgettable adventure on Oahu.


Trail Difficulty

The Pu’u Manamana trail is known for its challenging and rugged terrain, making it suitable for experienced hikers who are physically fit and comfortable with heights. The trail’s difficulty level is rated as moderate to strenuous, requiring a certain level of skill and endurance to navigate its steep sections and narrow ridges.


One of the main challenges of the Pu’u Manamana hike is the steep inclines and descents along the trail. Hikers will encounter sections where they need to use their hands for balance and climb over rocks and roots. These demanding sections require a good level of fitness and agility.


The exposed sections of the trail, particularly the narrow ridges, can be intimidating to some hikers. It is essential to exercise caution and select your steps carefully, as the drop-offs on either side can be steep. Those with a fear of heights may find these sections particularly challenging.


Another factor that adds to the trail’s difficulty is the unpredictable weather conditions. Oahu’s east coast is known for receiving more rainfall compared to other parts of the island. Heavy rains can make the trail muddy and slippery, making it more challenging to navigate. Additionally, strong winds can make the exposed sections even more treacherous. It is crucial to check the weather forecast before heading out and be prepared to adjust your plans if conditions are unfavorable.


It is highly recommended that hikers have prior hiking experience before attempting the Pu’u Manamana trail. Familiarity with steep terrain, scrambling over rocks, and exposure to heights will help ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience. Hikers should also come prepared with appropriate footwear, such as sturdy hiking boots with good traction, and dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions.


Overall, while the Pu’u Manamana trail may pose a challenge, the breathtaking views, unique rock formations, and sense of accomplishment at the summit make it a worthwhile adventure for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling and memorable experience on Oahu.


Trail Access and Parking

To access the Pu’u Manamana trail, you will need to make your way to the Kamehameha Heiau State Park, located on the Windward side of Oahu. The trailhead is easily accessible by car or public transportation.


If you are driving, you can reach the park by taking Kamehameha Highway (Highway 83) east from Honolulu. The drive is approximately 13 miles and takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic. Look for the signs indicating the entrance to Kamehameha Heiau State Park.


When you arrive at the park, you will find limited parking available. It is recommended to arrive early in the morning to secure a parking spot, as the trail can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. If the parking area is full, you may need to find alternative parking nearby and walk to the trailhead.


It is important to note that there are no restroom facilities or water sources available at the trailhead or along the trail. It is advisable to use the restroom and bring an ample supply of water before starting your hike.


If you prefer to use public transportation, there are bus routes that pass by Kamehameha Highway, making it convenient to reach the trailhead. Buses, operated by TheBus, provide transport to the area, but it is recommended to check the bus schedules and plan your journey accordingly.


As always, it is essential to be respectful of the local community and follow any posted signs or regulations related to parking. Be mindful not to block driveways or access points and leave no trace of your visit.


Before embarking on your hike, it is advisable to check for any updated information or closures related to the trail. Websites and forums dedicated to hiking in Oahu often provide valuable insights and updates from fellow hikers. Taking the time to be informed before your journey ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience.


Make sure to have a reliable map or GPS device with you to navigate the area, as trail markers may not always be clearly visible. Additionally, inform someone about your hiking plans, including your expected return time, for safety purposes.


With proper planning and consideration for others, accessing the Pu’u Manamana trail and finding parking should be relatively straightforward, allowing you to focus on the exhilarating adventure that awaits you.


Trailhead to Ridge

Once you’ve parked your vehicle at the Kamehameha Heiau State Park, it’s time to begin your journey to the Pu’u Manamana ridge. The trailhead is located within the park, and an information board will provide you with useful details about the hike.


From the trailhead, the initial part of the hike takes you through a lush forest of native vegetation, immersing you in the sights and sounds of the Hawaiian wilderness. As you venture deeper into the forest, you’ll notice the trail gradually ascending, preparing you for the challenging sections ahead.


The trail is well-defined initially, consisting of a mix of dirt, rocks, and roots. Follow the marked path as you continue onward, paying attention to any signage and trail markers to ensure you stay on the right track.


As you climb higher, you’ll encounter some steep sections that require careful footing. There may be ropes or guide cables in place to assist with the ascent, especially in areas where the terrain is particularly challenging. Use these aids for stability and safety.


Be prepared to do some light scrambling over rocks and maneuvering through narrow gaps. Take your time and be mindful of your surroundings, as the path can be uneven and there may be loose rocks along the way.


Approximately halfway through the trail, you will reach a prominent clearing that offers stunning views of Kualoa Ranch and the surrounding mountains. Take a moment to rest, hydrate, and soak in the beauty of the area before continuing on your journey.


From this point, the trail becomes more exposed, with narrow ridges leading you toward the Pu’u Manamana ridge. Exercise caution as you traverse these sections, using your hands and maintaining a steady pace. It’s important to stay focused and take one step at a time.


As you approach the ridge, the terrain becomes rockier and more challenging. You’ll find yourself on the edge of cliffs with breathtaking views of the coastline and ocean. Take the time to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you, but always prioritize safety and be aware of your limitations.


Reaching the ridge marks a significant milestone in your hike, and it’s a great opportunity to pause and celebrate your progress. Take some time to catch your breath, enjoy the panoramic views, and prepare yourself for the next phase of the trail.


From the ridge, the journey continues with more exhilarating sections that require a combination of hiking and light rock climbing. The path may become narrower and more exposed, requiring extra care and attention. Take your time and proceed with caution as you make your way to the summit.


The final stretch of the trail to the summit involves climbing over large boulders and navigating steep slopes. It can be physically demanding, so make sure to pace yourself and listen to your body. Keep an eye out for any markers or cairns that indicate the correct path.


As you approach the summit, the views become even more spectacular, rewarding you for your determination and effort. Take a moment to relish in your accomplishment and enjoy the unparalleled vistas before starting your descent or continuing on any further adventures.


The trailhead to ridge section of the Pu’u Manamana hike is a thrilling and challenging experience, providing you with a taste of the adventure that awaits you. Remember to be prepared, stay focused, and always prioritize safety as you make your way through the captivating landscapes of Oahu.


Ridge Hiking

As you navigate the Pu’u Manamana trail, one of the most exhilarating and memorable sections is the ridge hiking portion. This is where you’ll truly feel the adrenaline rush as you traverse narrow ridges with stunning views on either side.


Once you’ve reached the ridge, take a moment to appreciate the panoramic vistas that unfold before you. The dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean create a breathtaking backdrop for your hiking adventure.


Walking along the ridge requires focus, balance, and a steady pace. The path may be narrow, with sheer drop-offs on one or both sides. Stay aware of your footing and use any ropes or guide cables, if available, to aid your progress and provide extra stability.


As you move along the ridge, take the time to soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Mountains, valleys, and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean extend as far as the eye can see, providing a sense of awe and wonder. Keep your camera handy to capture these unforgettable views.


Be prepared for sections where the ridge becomes more exposed and challenging. There may be areas where you need to walk carefully on rocks or narrow ledges. Take your time, stay focused, and choose your steps deliberately, ensuring your safety at all times.


As you progress, it’s essential to maintain a good distance from your fellow hikers if you’re hiking as part of a group. This allows everyone to move at their own pace and reduces the risk of accidental slips or falls.


Throughout the ridge hiking section, make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially if you’re hiking in the heat of the day. Keep an eye out for signs of fatigue or dizziness and take necessary breaks to rest and refuel.


Remember that weather conditions can affect the experience of ridge hiking. Strong winds can make this section more challenging, so it’s crucial to assess the situation and consider safety before deciding to proceed. Always prioritize your well-being above anything else.


As you near the end of the ridge hiking section, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The stunning views and the unique experience of walking along narrow ridges will leave an indelible mark on your memory.


Completing the ridge hiking portion of the Pu’u Manamana trail is both physically and mentally rewarding. It showcases the natural beauty of the Oahu coastline and provides a thrilling adventure for those seeking a memorable hiking experience.


Remember to stay present, take in the breathtaking surroundings, and appreciate the privilege of exploring nature’s wonders from such a unique perspective. The ridge hiking segment of the Pu’u Manamana trail is sure to be a highlight of your adventure on the island of Oahu.


Summit Views

Reaching the summit of Pu’u Manamana offers breathtaking views that are truly awe-inspiring. Standing at the pinnacle of this challenging hike, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic vistas that showcase the natural beauty of Oahu and its surrounding areas.


From the summit, you’ll be able to take in sweeping views of the Windward coast, stretching from Kaneohe Bay to Kahana Bay. The turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean contrast beautifully with the vibrant green valleys below, creating a scene straight out of paradise.


Gazing inland, you’ll be treated to majestic views of the rugged Ko’olau Mountain Range. The dramatic cliffs and lush ridges stand as a testament to the raw power of nature and the geological wonders of Hawaii.


On clear days, you may even have the opportunity to spot neighboring islands in the distance. The outlines of Molokai, Maui, and even the famous silhouette of Diamond Head on Oahu’s southern coast can be seen on the horizon.


As you take in the summit views, allow yourself a moment to absorb the sheer vastness of the landscape and appreciate the sense of accomplishment that comes from conquering this challenging hike.


Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the stunning scenery and preserve the memories of your journey. Photographs from the summit of Pu’u Manamana will serve as a vivid reminder of your adventure and the remarkable beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.


While enjoying the panorama, it’s important to remember to tread lightly and respect the fragile ecosystem around you. Keep an eye out for delicate flora and fauna that thrive in this unique environment. Let the enchanting surroundings fill you with a sense of reverence and gratitude for the natural wonders of Hawaii.


As you begin your descent from the summit, take a moment to reflect on the experience. The summit views of Pu’u Manamana are a culmination of the challenges you’ve faced and a reward for your determination and perseverance.


Whether you choose to rest, eat a snack, or simply soak in the views, the summit of Pu’u Manamana will leave an indelible impression on your memory. It’s a place where you can pause, breathe, and appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty that Hawaii has to offer.


As you continue your journey back down the trail, carry the memories of the summit views with you, knowing that you’ve had the opportunity to witness the natural wonders of Oahu from a truly remarkable vantage point.


Trail Safety

While hiking the Pu’u Manamana trail, it’s important to prioritize safety to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience. The following trail safety tips will help you navigate the challenges of the trail and minimize the risk of accidents or injuries:

  1. Be Prepared: Before embarking on the hike, research the trail, check the weather forecast, and ensure you have the necessary gear and supplies. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, pack plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection, and bring a map or GPS device to navigate the trail.
  2. Start Early: Begin your hike early in the morning to allow ample time to complete the trail before sunset. Starting early also helps avoid hiking in the midday heat and decreases the chances of getting stuck in inclement weather.
  3. Stay on the Trail: Stick to the marked trail and avoid venturing off into unmarked areas. Leaving the trail increases the risk of getting lost or endangering fragile ecosystems. Respect any posted signs or barriers that indicate closures or restricted areas.
  4. Watch Your Step: Be mindful of your footing, especially in steep sections or areas with loose rocks. Take your time and choose your steps carefully. Use any ropes or guide cables provided to aid your ascent and descent.
  5. Stay Hydrated: The Pu’u Manamana hike can be physically demanding, so it’s crucial to stay hydrated throughout the journey. Carry enough water and drink regularly to prevent dehydration. Consider bringing a water filter or purification tablets if you plan on refilling your water supply from natural sources.
  6. Be Weather Aware: Keep an eye on weather conditions and be prepared for changes. Check the forecast before you start hiking and be aware of any signs of inclement weather while on the trail. Heavy rain can make the trail slippery and dangerous, and strong winds can exacerbate the challenges of exposed sections.
  7. Stay Together: If hiking with a group, stay within sight and earshot of each other. Appoint a designated leader or sweep, and ensure everyone is accounted for at regular intervals. Communicate any concerns or issues promptly to ensure everyone’s safety.
  8. Respect Wildlife: While hiking, you may encounter various forms of wildlife. Respect their natural habitat and keep a safe distance. Do not feed or approach any wildlife as this can be dangerous and disrupt their behavior.
  9. Pack Out What You Pack In: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out any trash or waste. Respect the environment and keep the trail clean for future hikers to enjoy.

Remember, personal responsibility is key to ensuring a safe hiking experience. Be aware of your own abilities and limitations, and always make safety your top priority. By following these trail safety guidelines, you can navigate the Pu’u Manamana hike with confidence and have a truly memorable adventure on Oahu.


Recommended Gear

When embarking on the Pu’u Manamana hike, having the right gear can enhance your comfort, safety, and overall experience. Here are some recommended gear items to consider before hitting the trail:

  1. Hiking Boots: Invest in a pair of sturdy and supportive hiking boots that provide good traction. They will offer stability and protect your feet on the uneven and rocky terrain of the Pu’u Manamana trail.
  2. Backpack: Choose a comfortable and durable backpack to carry your essentials such as water, snacks, extra layers of clothing, and any other personal items you may need. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and plenty of storage compartments.
  3. Water Bottles or Hydration Reservoir: Stay hydrated throughout the hike by carrying enough water. Consider using a hydration reservoir with a drinking tube, which allows you to sip water without having to stop and reach for a bottle.
  4. Snacks and Meals: Pack light, energizing snacks like granola bars, trail mix, and fruit to keep your energy levels up during the hike. If you plan on staying on the trail for an extended period, bring a packed lunch or a sandwich for a mid-hike meal.
  5. Sun Protection: Hawaii’s sun can be intense, even on cloudy days. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Consider lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs for added protection.
  6. Rain Gear: Due to the possibility of rain, it’s wise to bring a lightweight waterproof jacket or poncho to keep you dry. A waterproof cover for your backpack can also help protect your gear from getting wet.
  7. First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications. Be prepared for minor injuries or discomforts that may arise during the hike.
  8. Navigation Tools: While the Pu’u Manamana trail is marked, having a map, compass, or GPS device can provide additional peace of mind and help you stay on track. Familiarize yourself with the route before setting out.
  9. Trekking Poles: Trekking poles can provide stability, help distribute weight, and reduce strain on your knees and joints. They are particularly useful during steep ascents and descents.
  10. Bug Repellent: Hawaii’s tropical climate means mosquitoes and other insects can be present. Apply bug repellent on exposed skin to minimize itching and discomfort.
  11. Camera: Capture the stunning views and memorable moments along the trail with a camera or smartphone. Make sure your devices are fully charged and protected from any potential water damage.

Remember, having the right gear can make your hiking experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Consider the unique challenges of the Pu’u Manamana trail and pack accordingly. Adjust your gear list based on your personal preferences and needs, but always prioritize safety, comfort, and being prepared for the unexpected.



The Pu’u Manamana hike on Oahu is an adventure that combines stunning natural beauty, thrilling challenges, and a true connection to the island’s rugged landscape. This exhilarating trail takes you through dense forests, along narrow ridges, and to breathtaking summit views, providing an unforgettable experience for hikers seeking a taste of adventure.


As you ascend the Pu’u Manamana trail, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas that showcase the incredible diversity of Hawaii’s landscapes. From lush valleys and cascading waterfalls to dramatic cliffs and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, every step offers a new perspective on the island’s awe-inspiring natural wonders.


While the trail presents challenges such as steep ascents, scrambling over rocks, and narrow ridges, these obstacles are part of what makes the Pu’u Manamana hike so rewarding. The sense of accomplishment and the breathtaking views from the summit make every effort worthwhile.


Throughout the hike, it’s essential to prioritize safety and be prepared for the trail’s difficulties. Make sure to assess your physical fitness and hiking capabilities before embarking on this adventure. Plan your journey, check the weather forecast, and pack the necessary gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


The Pu’u Manamana hike is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Oahu and connect with the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii. From ancient Hawaiian remnants along the trail to the diverse flora and fauna that surround you, the hike provides a unique glimpse into the island’s history and biodiversity.


As you reach the summit and take in the breathtaking views, you’ll feel a deep sense of awe and gratitude for the stunning landscapes that Hawaii has to offer. Capture these memories and savor the experience of standing on top of the world, reveling in the accomplishment of conquering the Pu’u Manamana trail.


Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking a thrilling challenge or an adventurous traveler looking to explore Oahu’s hidden gems, the Pu’u Manamana hike is a must-try. It will push your limits, reward you with unforgettable views, and leave you with cherished memories of your time in the Hawaiian paradise.


So lace up your boots, prepare your hiking gear, and embark on the Pu’u Manamana adventure. Get ready to discover the magic of Oahu’s natural beauty, push your boundaries, and create memories that will last a lifetime.